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Turkey of the Damned

If you tend to be behind schedule from the moment you wake up on the morning of your party, plan to slide two small turkeys into the oven instead of a larger one, cutting more than an hour from the cooking time.

18- to 20-pound turkey, thawed, or two 10-pound turkeys, thawed
Olive oil
1 tablespoon flour
1/4 pound sliced baby carrots
1/4 pound sliced celery
1 medium onion, sliced
4 mushrooms, sliced
Thyme to taste
Rosemary to taste
Fresh ground pepper
1 oven bag (19 inches by 23 1/2 inches) per turkey
1 small cooking rack (per turkey)
4 cooking pins (per turkey)

Rinse the turkey, pat dry and brush with olive oil. Mix the giblets with the vegetables; thinly sliced lengthwise. Add thyme and rosemary to taste, stuff and close with cooking pins. Pour honey in a zigzag pattern across the breast and grind pepper liberally over the top. Shake flour into the oven bag, insert the cooking rack, place the turkey on the rack, seal the bag with a twist-tie and cut several small vents across the top of the bag.

While a Thanksgiving turkey should look firm and sturdy on the table, an a la carte party bird gets ripped to shreds by ravenous guests in no time. In an oven preheated to 350 degrees, intentionally over-cook the turkey so that the moist meat falls off the bones (about 31/2 hours for an 18-pound bird, a little over 2 hours for two 10-pounders).

John Hayes

Thursday, October 19, 2000

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